In this post I want to share about demons that haunt me when traveling. Those demons are also known as fears, anxieties, worries and phobias. They show their ugly face, but how did they get to dwell in me?
There was a time in 1972 during a road trip with my parents in San Miguel de Allende when a phone call came into our hotel room. One of those phone calls where the operator asks if you accept a call from so and so. Accepting the call, my mom heard my aunt giving her the bad news of my paternal grandmother’s passing. I immediately noticed my mom’s reaction and knew something was wrong.
My mother shared the news with me, but not with my younger sisters. She felt it was a bad idea to share with my dad so all she informed him was that his mother was ill, and it would be best to drive back home. My dad was a smart man and I have no doubt he knew there was more to this story. The drive back home was precarious. We averted two bad accidents for my dad was speeding and in the foulest of moods.
The highway coming into Matamoros, Mexico from the south goes straight to the main plaza and a block before is Calle Guerrero where my grandmother lived. It was dark on that August night, and I remember mom suggesting we should go home first and drop off the children, but my dad was not about to do that. He made a right turn and saw people outside the house dressed in black. The living room lights allowed for a peek of a casket lying inside.
That event is forever in my mind.
Today, many decades later, the demon of that night shows its face to cause worry and concern when I’m getting ready for a trip. What if something bad happens while I’m away? What if a family member gets sick or hurt – or dies! The anxiety increases my blood pressure and sometimes I’m even short of breath. It would be better to stay home, I say to myself. Why do we have to travel AGAIN?
Not long ago I canceled trips at the last minute just out of fear. As a teenager I got out of several tour buses heading for a fun girl scout weekend only to regret it later when my friends talked about what a fun experience it was.
Traveling for work – something I had to do – gave me the opportunity to confront these demons and to begin the healing. But they’re still present even today, and I keep fighting. That unfortunate childhood trauma caused a separation anxiety I’ve fought since then.
Another demon who haunts me on the road is agoraphobia. When we drive on a lonely highway surrounded by flat prairies and farms, I feel extremely vulnerable. One way I’ve managed to conquer that demon is by focusing on barns, silos, agriculture fields and livestock. I am a huge fan of gambrel style barns so much that I’ve painted a few.
I could have just stayed home and avoided travel, but my curiosity to see new places and learn about different cultures is greater. Audrey Hepburn once said it was good to do something you fear every day. I understand now that it is the only way to go.
I do know that without my faith in Jesus Christ, it would have been hard to even face these demons and chances are I would succumb to them and just stayed home missing out on some of the most amazing experiences I cherish. The prayer to St. Michael the Archangel says: Thrust into hell evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Are there any demons keeping you from your dreams?